Innovation without Bounds

Exactly one hundred years after Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves, the multinational research and collaboration of more than 1,000 scientists culminated this year in the stunning observation of the phenomenon. Such an inspiring breakthrough did not happen overnight; rather, it was reached through a century of observations, questions, ideas and trials, generated by the thousands of people who dedicated their professional lives to advancing the science along the way.

On September 14, 2015, the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA both measures ripples in the fabric of spacetime – gravitational waves – arriving at the Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. Credit: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/.

On September 14, 2015, the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington, USA both measures ripples in the fabric of spacetime – gravitational waves – arriving at the Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. Credit: https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/.

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Light for a Better World – A Celebration of U.S. Innovation at the National Academy of Sciences

Hundreds of people attended an evening event this past Saturday titled, “Light for a Better World: A Celebration of U.S. Innovation” at the National Academy of Sciences. This was one of two flagship events anchoring International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) celebration in the United States, and it featured several delightful lectures by a distinguished panel of speakers followed by a nice reception.

The evening was sponsored by the U.S. IYL 2015 organizing committee, which includes the National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, The Optical Society, American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, IEEE Photonics Society and SPIE.

An earlier, daytime event called “Wonders of Light – Family Science Fun” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian where more than 500 people, largely children and their parents, were treated to more than a dozen booths offering hands-on activities. I will describe more about that daytime event in a separate blog. First, let me describe the evening event and how well the speakers there captured the dual themes reflected in the title: light innovation and working toward a better world.

Musicians are bathed in LED light from the Radiance Orb, which responds to their playing before the start of the Light for a Better World celebration in Washington D.C. On September 12, 2015. Credit: Jason Socrates Bardi.

Musicians are bathed in LED light from the Radiance Orb, which responds to their playing before the start of the Light for a Better World celebration in Washington D.C. On September 12, 2015. Credit: Jason Socrates Bardi.

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